Embracing Change


This year's newsletter is a series of "Life Lessons", in tribute to my late mother. They are lessons that have served me well as I apply them to mediation.  

My mother was an avid traveller.  At age 29, when my father called her from his trip to California to excitedly report a new business opportunity with his Cousin Bill, she packed up two young children, and, pregnant with me, moved across country.  When I went away to College she became a travel agent.  At age 88, she and my father took a 45 day cruise beginning in New York and then going from Cape Town to Dubai.  While the rest of us feared they were not physically fit enough to endure this ambitious travel plan, they embraced the challenge and returned to reveal the highs and lows of exploring the Sultan's Palace with head-covering and long dress--resulting in a nasty bruise to the face, (which explained the lack of photos for the first half of the trip!).

When parties come to a mediation, it is often their first encounter with a legal dispute.  In some fashion, their lawyers and the mediator are asking them to go on an uncharted journey just like a foreign adventure. We professionals know that the adventure is usually "safe" (i.e.:  protected by confidentiality and subject to their voluntary agreement), but wary travelers would do well to heed my mother's lesson and embrace the changes that the mediation may bring.  This takes courage and perhaps some creative/moral imagination. After all, you can't know what precisely is in store until you've lived it!  Nevertheless, the journey itself is usually worthwhile, if only as a learning experience.  And change is good. People who come to mediation come precisely because they are ready and eager to change the status quo from "in conflict" to "Over it".   Once again, my mother's lesson has served me well--and I pass it along to you, my trusted friends, colleagues and clients.

P.S.:  I will be making my Annual trek to Las Vegas for the CAALA convention at the end of the month.  If you will be there, please stop by and say "Hello" at the ADR Services booth.  

Best Regards,

Jan Frankel Schau


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